Reflections on Life Skills

One of our long term Teen Advisory Council members, Malhar, was a part of our college student team teaching our recent Life Skills class. In the essay below, he outlines his experience.

What really made this experience stand out was the hands-on approach we took. Rather than just lecturing, we engaged the students in discussions, role-plays, and interactive activities. I’ve seen firsthand how the program has evolved throughout the years, and the students continue to amaze me every year.

During our reflective sessions, the students were very open and asked thought-provoking questions. Their evolving concerns about high school life and changing social media dynamics over the years were eye-opening.

Having been involved for some time now – first as a high school volunteer and then in college – I’ve witnessed firsthand the shifts in their worries. From digital social pressures to academic stress, their concerns reflect the challenges of their generation.

There were even times where I was surprised how mature their decisions were and how the range of experiences that they were facing, differed from what I experienced 7 years ago.

The questions they asked were incredibly insightful, sparking deep conversations about life and their futures. My experience was a reminder of the importance of providing a supportive environment for young minds to explore and learn. It’s an important supplement to what they face in their day-to-day lives.

It’s important to realize the impact that the pandemic had on many of these student’s development during elementary school, where crucial lessons and skills are learned. Experiences in school and day-to-day conversations typically empower students with lessons that they lost virtually. I feel that the Life Skills program is a perfect transition to provide these skills as they prepare for high school.

My philosophy in teaching wasn’t just to give them answers on how to handle difficult decisions, but to enable them to reflect and make smarter and well-informed choices.

As we wrapped up the program, we conducted a final evaluation to assess their understanding. It was rewarding to see their progress and how much they had absorbed and were able to apply to their own lives.

Teaching life skills to middle schoolers has been a journey filled with growth and discovery. Looking back, I’m grateful for the opportunity to have made a positive impact on these students’ lives. I hope the lessons they’ve learned will serve them well as they navigate the complexities of adolescence and beyond.

I encourage all students, middle and high school, to participate and get involved with HCDrugFree’s programs. In a world that’s constantly changing, being prepared with a toolbox of skills is an asset that will empower students to succeed socially and professionally for years to come.

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